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Dwight Howard’s Rockets visit Detroit

Essentials

  • Teams: Houston Rockets (17-10) at Detroit Pistons (13-15)
  • Date: December 21, 2013
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: FS Detroit Plus

What to look for

The Detroit Pistons self-destructed last night against the Charlotte Bobcats. They held a 14-point lead at the end of the third quarter and seemed well on their way to securing a home victory against the Bobcats.

Kemba Walker was having a good game, but Detroit was firmly in control by virtue of a superior shooting night from long range and a 10-rebound advantage. The Pistons then fell apart in the final frame and were outscored 41-17. Al Jefferson struggled throughout most of the contest but then morphed into Hakeem Olajuwon in the last 12 minutes of the contest.

Jefferson scored 15 points and collected five rebounds in the fourth quarter alone. Big Al was a beast on the interior and simply could not be stopped. He went to the low post and essentially destroyed whoever was tasked with defending him.

He used hook shots, up and under moves, drop steps and jump shots on his way to victimizing Detroit’s frontline. It’s easy obviously to second-guess decisions well after the fact, but Mo Cheeks’ unwillingness to send help his way is certainly intriguing to say the least.

The Bobcats connected on two long-range shots in the quarter, but still only converted three of their 10 treys overall. The coaching staff’s strategy was somewhat puzzling, but more importantly, it gave us a look at their stance against interior players.

Indeed, the Palace of Auburn Hills will host the Houston Rockets tonight who happen to feature arguably the best center in basketball. Dwight Howard is coming to town and he presents matchup problems for just about any team in the league.

Granted, as Zach Lowe noted over at Grantland, Howard is no longer the explosive player the basketball world became accustomed in 2009:

Peak Dwight didn’t have moves and countermoves as much as fluid explosions in every direction. He built his post arsenal on sweeping hook shots he could launch while dribbling toward the middle of the floor with either hand, from either block. If he caught the ball on the right block, he liked to face up, throw a shoulder fake toward the baseline, and then barrel into the lane for a lefty hook. But if defenders tracked him there, he could spin right back toward the baseline for a counterattack.

Nonetheless, he is a still a handful as the Indiana Pacers can attest. Through the first quarter of the season, Roy Hibbert is the league’s Defensive Player of the Year and yet, he could not find a way to really slow down the Rockets center last night. Have a look for yourself:

Howard used his footwork and quickness repeatedly against Hibbert to consistently connect from the field. The former Orlando Magic big man converted five such hook shots against the Pacers center. Indiana opted to use single coverage every now and then, and they paid for it.

The Rockets were blown out at Indiana last night, because the Pacers’ defense was simply overwhelming. They stuffed every avenue Houston turned to save for Howard’s post-ups.

Detroit does not share Indiana’s defensive discipline and consequently, we might be in for a shootout. Kevin McHale’s crew is the proud owner of a top-five offense that is predicated on interior field goals and long-range shots.

Houston is ranked no lower than fifth in attempts directly at the rim and shots from downtown. Detroit struggles in defending both of these types of shots. As a result, they might need to score some to keep the game within striking distance and pull it out late.

Read about the Rockets

Red94.

33 Comments

  • Dec 21, 20136:16 pm
    by gmehl

    Reply

    Well this could get ugly. i guess we’ll see what there made of tonight.

  • Dec 21, 20136:55 pm
    by Brandon Knight

    Reply

    How about this trade: 

    Thadus Young and Even Turner
    For
    Greg Monroe, KCP and Charlie V. 
    http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=kqyeeqf 
    What do you guys think?
    It works for both teams!
    Pg Brandon Jennings
    SG Even Turner 
    SF Josh Smith
    PF Thadus Young
    C Andre Drummond
      

    • Dec 21, 20138:13 pm
      by gmehl

      Reply

      So let me get this straight. You want to give up 3 assets for Turner and Young. Monroe himself should net at least those 2 guys and you still want to give them last years 1st rounder (KCP) and the only thing CV will ever bring this team in his expiring deal. You my friend should be ashamed of yourself.

      • Dec 21, 20138:46 pm
        by Brandon Knight

        Reply

        lmaooooo
        Even Turner 20 ppg 4 apg 3.7 rpg
        Thaddeus Young 16 ppg 6.6 rpg
        For Just Monroe???? lol
        (personal attack removed)
         
         

        • Dec 22, 20134:53 am
          by gmehl

          Reply

          (personal attack removed) Monroe with all his defensive flaws on the right team could be a cornerstone for another franchise (pretty much any team but us). Evan Turner who is an inefficient gunner to get those 20ppg is not someone you could build around. There aren’t many big men in the league that have Monroe’s skill set and many a team would love to have him. All you need to know here is that Monroe will be getting a max contract and Turner won’t so you can consider the personal attack open.

          • Dec 23, 201312:00 pm
            by OOtis

            lol…….. giving up on KCP after thirty games and dumping Monroe for two guys who won’t make us better.  How about a Monroe trade for a better (or at least comparable) player?  Go to NBA rank and look at the 41 players ranked ahead of Monroe……. Young is 86th.

    • Dec 21, 20138:53 pm
      by Lorenzo

      Reply

      Yeah, that’s not a very good trade for the Pistons at all. You don’t give up those sort of pieces (young big man who puts up solid numbers, cheap productive contract, and expiring contract.) for Young and Turner. I mean if the Sixers get that deal they should/would eat it up in a second…imagine getting rid of two cumbersome contracts (Young, and Turners impending re-up) AND getting cheap (even with Monroe up for a new contract) young talent with upside, while still maintaining your tanking ability, hence providing the op to bring in more cheap young talent. It would be incredible for them. For the Pistons it doesn’t change the bottom line much other than bloating pay-roll significantly and reducing the long term talent threshold. 

    • Dec 21, 201311:07 pm
      by oats

      Reply

      Evan Turner can’t shoot and plays zero defense, but is about to get seriously paid because he scores 20 points a game. Thad Young is an undersized 4 that doesn’t rebound well and is only kind of ok defensively. I think Detroit’s defense gets worse after the trade. The floor spacing is not being helped at all either. What’s more, the team’s offensive rebounding advantage would likely be reduced by losing Monroe. I’m just not seeing how this trade idea actually helps the team.

    • Dec 22, 20132:23 am
      by Jodi aka "The Guru"

      Reply

      No…

  • Dec 21, 20138:24 pm
    by Jopl

    Reply

    so this sucks so far.  Dwight seems to be wanting to prove himself to Drummond,  Stuckey is being passive, Bynum is playing hero ball, KCP is barely playing and both teams arent playing defense.  Great.

    • Dec 21, 20138:35 pm
      by gmehl

      Reply

      Those 3 blocks by Dre were beautiful to watch though 

      • Dec 21, 20138:58 pm
        by Jopl

        Reply

        Agreed.  Hes getting frustrated by dwight though.

  • Dec 21, 20138:53 pm
    by Vic

    Reply

    Greg Kelser just said pretty much the same thing i’ve been saying… 
    Its the bad shots that make their defense suck.
    When they started taking it into the paint they played better. All the smart teams play that way.
    The Pistons have 3 guys that should be playing just like Dwight Howard, one at a time.

    • Dec 22, 20139:44 pm
      by Otis

      Reply

      The bad shots certainly don’t help, and our transition defense is a special kind of terrible, but our defense isn’t good when it’s set either. It’s terrible all around.

  • Dec 21, 20139:23 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    Rockets got 7 3′s made…we have zero….
    we have zero…
    Rudy Gay would have made this team soo much better…

    • Dec 21, 201311:15 pm
      by oats

      Reply

      You know he’s shooting .338 on 3s and made 23 of them in 23 games. That’s only slightly better than KCP’s .321 and 25 makes in 26 games. Gay is also taking nearly 18 shots a game. He’s a low efficiency and high volume shooter, and Detroit already has Jennings and Smith doing that. No, Rudy Gay would not help the team and likely would make it quite a bit worse.

      • Dec 22, 201312:30 am
        by I HATE FRANK

        Reply

        Rudy defense alone would make him worth it, and his ability to create offense…but we not going there

  • Dec 21, 20139:30 pm
    by Lorenzo

    Reply

    Finally some spark from Datome.

  • Dec 21, 20139:44 pm
    by Jopl

    Reply

    Drummond needs to learn to not give up post position.   Howard is killing him.  He’s barely trying now.

  • Dec 21, 201310:02 pm
    by anacaniwelk

    Reply

    Way to show Howard how it’s done Drummond.  You got embarrassed Andre.

  • Dec 21, 201310:07 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    This team is Bio-Polar just when you thik we’ve turned the corner….we re right back in recovery
    Greg needs to moved…unless we are planning to re-sign him….and built this front line for the long haul…
    Defensively and Offensively its starting to create limitons

    • Dec 21, 201310:11 pm
      by Brandon Knight

      Reply

      Not only we need to move Monroe, but also we need to start looking for a fu-cking shooting guard that can fu-cking shoot the ball. KCP is not the answer at all!
       

  • Dec 21, 201310:08 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    Drummond needed that ass whooping…hopefully he will learn from it

    • Dec 21, 201310:13 pm
      by Brandon Knight

      Reply

      Those 4 block tho! NASTY!

  • Dec 21, 201310:11 pm
    by T Casey

    Reply

    We got killed by a center and yet another small forward. Clearly Monroe needs to go.

  • Dec 21, 201310:15 pm
    by Brandon Knight

    Reply

    KC_____Fucking__P is not the answer at the shooting guard position. Detroit better start looking for a guard that can shoot the ball.

    • Dec 21, 201310:24 pm
      by Brandon Knight

      Reply

      KCP: are you kidding me? 20 minutes and only 2 points ughhhh
       

    • Dec 22, 20132:24 am
      by Jodi aka "The Guru"

      Reply

      KCP=6th man…I thought everyone here understood that already…

  • Dec 21, 201311:21 pm
    by mythx

    Reply

    How much better not only on the court, but also in the salary cap would this team be if they had done what 90% of the fans wanted in the draft. And just drafted Trey Burke.
    He is miles cheaper. A true Pg, a better shooter and to boot he isnt a turnover machine in his rookie year.
    I dont blame Dumars one bit for missing on MCW. Nobody thought he would be that good and was a poor fit due to lack of range.
    But Burke not only was a better fit at the time than KCP. He still is and is a better player.
    Dumars needs to go and except for Dre most of the team does also

  • Dec 21, 201311:53 pm
    by jumpandcrackintheeurope

    Reply

    Trey Burke is only best pg in the worst team in the nba; and more ‘shoot’ than ‘point’.  Average defender. Last night 1/8 and 3ast against Jeff Teagaue. Tonight was better 20 points but only 4 ast.
    KCP is Pistons best (only true) periemetr defender and only fourth/fifth option on the floor.
     
    Evan Turner or Thad Young to the Pistons? Why not Khris Middleton? This same level.

    • Dec 22, 20139:39 am
      by jeff m

      Reply

      Well I had to chime in. I’m personally sick of Dumars, he consistently gets rid of good players, that he drafts. I think Middleton and Afflao should of never been traded. Dumars has no Idea how to give players that are rising a chance to be in the spotlight. I don’t like Josh Smith much, and I don’t think the move needed to be made. Middleton wasn’t really given a chance and when he did get some playing time he was starting to show promise, when he got a shot at the end of the year. We needed a guy that could make some jump shots. I’m so tired of Dumars he doesn’t have a freaking clue how to build a competitive team, with guys that can actually shoot decent.

  • Dec 22, 201312:05 am
    by jumpandcrackintheeurope

    Reply

    Trade first Stuckey for Afflalo, for Ariza (Wizards have Webster), for Garcia, for Gerald Green, for one of the Morris brothers … . Than backup point (Bynum, Billups and Siva are rubbish at all). Than Monroe.
     
     

  • Dec 22, 20135:50 am
    by mythx

    Reply

    Jump,
     
    And your point is exactly about burke?
     
    Even if you consider Burke and Jennings a push at this point (both are up and down) You still are paying a whole lot more for Jennings.  Plus Burke has a better attitude.
    Look if the Pistons had drafted Burke they would probably still have Knight at off guard. Which while not ideal would be slightly worst defensibly but  better offensively. They would hit the 3 at a much better pace than the horrible outside shooting we have now
    And would be far cheaper to boot. This is one of those ways one mistakes leads to the next.  I am not arguing that right now the Pistons would be much better than they are now.
    I am saying that they would be a more balanced team, more reliable offensively and have far more flexibility financially than they do now.    
     

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